She sells seashells on the seashore!
She's Jyotsna and she's not more than ten years old. One of the thirteen children of a fisherman at a remote Island on the Bay of Bengal, she's not endowed with many choices in life. She's one among the many kids here who collect sea shells, fashion then into necklaces and bracelets, and scout the picturesque beaches of St. Martin's island for tourists as potential buyers of their wares.
Jyotsna is cheerful, articulate and curious like most kids of her age. She obviously pays a lot of attention to her own grooming. Neatly dressed, it was her dash of lipstick that attracted my attention. She willingly posed for a photograph and enjoyed the results on the screen.
Jyotsna said that she attends the local primary school. But beyond that there doesn't seem to be much of an educational opportunity for her. The nearest mainland is a good three hours boatride away. Jyotsna and most kids like her peddle sea shells to the tourists, who are their only window to the outside world. Boys grow up to join the fishing activities. Girls are probably married off in their teens. The idyllic surroundings make you forget that there are no healthcare facilities or doctors in the island, despite the existence of a government hospital building. Women give birth at home. The little electricity available is through solar panels and generators. Jyotsna would've spent many a night huddled in the corner of a dark room with her siblings, while a cyclonic storm rages outside.
For Jyotsna's sake, however, I'd want to believe that her future is as bright as her smile, and she rises above the limitations of her circumstances to flower into a beautiful confident woman!
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I have taken myself a prisoner
The phones didn't ring again,
I thought I would get used to this,
It's a language I can't read.
As I am distracted,
By the music of the mountains,
And capella of the birds,
I stare at the passing clouds,
Raining down the lush meadows,
As The first drop,
Falls upon my palm.